Tom Foster has paid for independent tests to be carried out on samples from the Dee River. The results alarmingly show large amounts of heavy metals.
Tom Foster has paid for independent tests to be carried out on samples from the Dee River. The results alarmingly show large amounts of heavy metals. Chris Ison Rokcriver

Tests reveal "shocking" level of heavy metals in Dee River

OUT of his own pocket, Mount Morgan's Tom Foster paid nationally accredited professionals and laboratories to test highly toxic samples water from the Dee River. The results reveal shocking levels of heavy and alkali metals.

The independent results show alarmingly high levels magnesium and sulphur - more than 460 and 1100 times respectively over the regulated limit for heavy and alkali metals - about 20kms downstream from the Mt Morgan Mine site.

He said he had to conduct independent tests swiftly to protect future generations and residents living in and around Mt Morgan.

"I don't want my children, my grandchildren or any other human being to suffer from this toxic time bomb," he said.

He claimed the pH level of the Dee River, in the 20km stretch downstream from the mine pit, was so acidic one woman was burnt.

Mr Foster gathered the samples on April 28, almost a week after assistant Mining Minister Lisa France and local business personnel met with the Mt Morgan community to discuss ongoing water quality issues of the Mt Morgan Mine pit.

Tom and an independent party collected river samples at Walmul, near the only bridge between Mt Morgan and Dululu.

Melbourne-based, nationally accredited laboratory testing company Eurofins tested the samples and immediately sent the results back to Mr Foster.

The tests cost Tom $425, an "investment" he said was well worth it.

"The levels of contamination in the Dee River are unacceptable," he said.

The hardness set is extremely high ... alkali metals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium; and heavy metals including, aluminium, cadmium, copper, nickel and zinc are outside the recommended safe scale in the Dee River."

The recommended level of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, in the Dee River, is 0.5 micrograms per litre(mg/L). The results showed the actual levels were 120, 230, 2.4 and 100 mg/L respectively.

A lethal concoction is how Mr Foster described it.

Recommended sulphur levels in the river should also be 0.5mg/L. The actual recorded level of sulphur was 550mg/L.

"It is my belief that the Mt Morgan Mine site is a threat to the entire Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast districts.

"My concern is based upon the fact that no government authority has disputed my assertions to date. What I find more disturbing is that there has been no official response to my concerns despite me raising them with the authorities."

A Natural Resources and Mines Department spokesman said recognised water quality impacts were generally restricted to the first 18-22km downstream from the mine site, after which significant dilution occurred by natural river flows.



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